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LCSO: Semi-annual stats show drop in crime

By TIFFANY REPECKI / trepecki@breezenewspapers.com - | Oct 6, 2020

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office, which covers Captiva within its Gulf District, recently released its Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report comparing the first half of this year to the same for 2019.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement maintains the semi-annual and annual numbers for municipalities statewide. On Sept. 29, the LCSO reported an overall drop in reported crimes.

There were 2,824 total offenses for 2020 compared to 3,038 last year, a 7.04 percent decrease.

“The safety and security of Lee County residents is my number one priority,” Sheriff Carmine Marceno said in a prepared statement. “These numbers are proof that the Lee County Sheriff’s Office continues to uphold its commitment to reducing crime.”

Under the category of violent offenses, robberies dropped from 132 in 2019 to 108 this year, while forced sex crimes dipped from 163 to 150. However, murders rose from five in the first half of last year to 12 for 2020, and aggravated assaults/stalking offenses experienced an increase from 420 to 426.

The LSCO saw a 3.33 percent decrease in total violent offenses.

In the category of non-violent offenses, thefts over $200 dropped from 1,002 to 895, thefts $50-200 declined from 365 to 287, motor vehicle thefts decreased from 224 to 216, and thefts under $50 dipped from 374 to 368. However, residential burglaries increased from 286 in 2019 to 293 this year, while non-residential burglaries rose from 67 to 69.

The LCSO saw a 8.20 percent drop in total non-violent offenses.

In addition, the county agency reported an increase in the year-over-year numbers for simple assaults/stalkings and domestic violence offenses — 849 to 1,055 and 713 to 829, respectively.

However, there was a decline among arson from 18 in 2019 to 12 this year.

As for arrests, the LCSO also saw a decease from 6,979 to 4,758.

Officials cited the state-of-the-art, Real Time Intelligence Center as playing a role in the reduction of crime. It is home to all analytical support and intelligence and collects real-time data from incidents across the county, providing a cutting-edge technical environment to solve, project and prevent crime.

Other major assets, including drones, observation towers and mobile surveillance units, enable the agency to have eyes in locations throughout Lee in real-time. This helps prevent any serious incidents from occurring and provides deputies with a safer more appropriate response to crimes in progress.

“Our deputies are top-notch, and I am proud of the work they do each and every day,” Marceno said. “By improving our relationship with the community and the introduction of top-of-the-line technology, we are all working together to make Lee County a better place to work and live.”